Buddhists donate food and other necessities to monks as a way of earning merit for future lives. Monks have refused donations of alms from the military as a political protest in 1990 and 2007, a boycott that some monks insist is still in effect.
Nay Myo Zin is a former captain in the Myanmar army who now runs a charity and is a political activist. He says he quit the army because soldiers were "always made to do bad things," and thus preventing him from properly practicing his Buddhist religion.
In response to political reforms in Myanmar — also known as Burma — the U.S. and other Western countries have eased some sanctions targeting the country's former military rulers.
But so far, one of the most powerful institutions inside the country has kept its sanctions in place. For some time, Myanmar's Buddhist clergy have effectively been on a spiritual strike by refusing to take donations from the military — a serious blow to the former regime's legitimacy.
Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 12:30 pm
Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack combine to form a huge-sounding, full-blooded rock band, with the former blustering epically on guitar and the latter multitasking on drums and keyboards. Moody and portentous, the Baltimore duo's songs billow menacingly when they're not booming majestically, aided and shrouded by Wasner's enigmatic mumble.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. My thanks to Viviana Hurtado for sitting in for me for a couple of days this week. Coming up we'll ask former attorney general Alberto Gonzales what he makes of the fact that the current attorney general Eric Holder has been declared in contempt of Congress. This is the first time that this has happened to a sitting attorney general.
Switching gears now to a subject that also inspires passion around the world, the finals are set at Euro 2012. That's Europe's big national team soccer tournament. It's being held in Ukraine and Poland this year. Italy got into the final, thanks to two goals from the striker, Mario Balotelli.
Now we turn to presidential politics in Mexico. Americans are not the only people electing a new president this year. Mexicans are heading to the voting booth on Sunday. The frontrunner is Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, also known as the PRI. That party dominated politics in Mexico for decades until a relatively recent time. The candidate in second place is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He is with the Democratic Revolution Party.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we're going to take a look at elections in Mexico, but first, we're going to continue our conversation on some of the big news in this country.
We want to get another angle on yesterday's Supreme Court decision on health care. The health care law would not have survived without the support of Chief Justice John Roberts. That support was surprising to many people, perhaps even shocking. He'd been seen as a solid conservative vote in the court but this week two opinions are making people rethink that: yesterday's health care decision and one earlier this week striking down much of Arizona's immigration enforcement law.